NewsPolk County


Lakeland teenager arrested for attacking another student at school

Posted at 4:45 PM, Sep 12, 2019

LAKELAND, Fla. — A student at Blake Academy has been arrested after attacking another student in the school's locker room earlier this week.

Video of the attack, taken by other students, has been shared widely on social media.

In the video you can see a young white man kicking, punching and slamming to the ground a young African American boy. Other boys surrounding the two were watching and laughing for minutes until two students tried to stop it.

“He has a cut on his eyebrow that you could see visibly at the time. You can see the knot on his forehead,” Lauren Springfield, the 12-year-old victim's mother said.

RECOMMENDED: Parents: Bullying widespread at a Polk County elementary school

Springfield tells us she was called by a school nurse who told her that her son had been in a fight.

Springfield added that once she got to Blake Academy, administration told her she shouldn’t have been called in yet because the investigation wasn’t complete.

That same night a parent from another school sent her three videos, each about one minute long.

“What I saw was a kid just going at another kid without any remorse for what he was doing,” Springfield said.

RECOMMENDED: Florida parents want school officials 'held responsible' after bullied daughter kills herself

What is most concerning for the mother of two is the school couldn’t tell her what was being done to the other boy involved or if he was even going to be punished.

She instead opted to press charges and the teen was arrested for simple battery.

Polk County Schools did tell ABC Action News the boy was suspended for 10 days. The schools sent the following message home to parents at Blake Academy.

Dear parents,
We want to assure you that the safety and security of students is always our first priority at Blake Academy. 
Earlier this week, a student repeatedly struck another student in our locker room. Other students in the room took video of this incident. One video was posted to social media.
To protect student privacy, we are unable to provide additional details. However, we can assure you that school administrators responded immediately once the incident was reported. 
The perpetrator and the students who videoed the incident have been disciplined according to the Student Code of Conduct.
Additionally, law enforcement and the school district worked together to apply appropriate criminal charges to those involved in this incident. We continue to fully cooperate with the law enforcement investigation.
 The teacher who was responsible for supervising the children is currently being investigated and discipline is pending based on the outcome. 
We are deeply saddened this incident took place at Blake Academy. We pride ourselves on ensuring an inclusive, welcoming, supportive learning environment. What occurred earlier this week is in direct conflict with our school values and will not be tolerated.
Thank you for entrusting us with your children, and be assured that we are putting them first every day.

POLK NEWS | The latest headlines from Polk County

“I want our impact in our educational system to be learning in schools, not bullying any kid,” Jaqueline Byrd, the Polk County School superintendent said in a press conference Thursday morning.

Lauren Springfield agrees that should be the priority, but is now fighting in a positive manner hoping for more transparency from the schools in the future.

“This should be about the child and what you’re going to do to protect all the children in that school,” she said.

The Springfield family is seeking legal advice. Their family lawyer tells ABC Action News they’re asking the State Attorney’s Office to look at possible charges to be filed in the juvenile system.

Otherwise, the case could be decided by Teen Court, where the boy would be judged by a group of peers.